So what happens after you discover your child is gifted after being told that he or she is gifted? Or perhaps you just had an aha moment after he or she did something way unusual for a child? Here is a quick start guide for parents.
1. Find support for parents of gifted children. Parenting gifted children is lonely. Friends may not understand you that much, especially if your children’s milestones are way ahead of theirs. Others who have been there may offer help. There is no need to worry that much about your children.
2. Advocate for your gifted children. Chances are some of them may face issues in school. They could be bored from the lessons, and some may act out. It is even more difficult if your children are twice-exceptional. Your child may need acceleration, but do the school district boards allow? Find ways to work with the teacher, not against the teacher. Very few teachers are trained in gifted education. Even if they are, there are so many different faces of gifted children, that they may not be able to handle your child. You should do what you can for them.
3. Read up. Google whatever you can. Borrow library books. Read sites dedicated to giftedness such as Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and SENG. Share what you have found out with your spouse or other family members so that they could understand your child better. Learn the acronyms and jargons. What is twice-exceptional? What is EG and PG? What is asynchronous development? SB5? WISC-IV? Intensities? You can check out Hoagies’ Blog Hops for discussion on various issues.
4. Decide whether to send your child for gifted testing. Taking IQ tests is not cheap, but the test results may offer you some answers to what your child is facing. There might be a discrepancy between processing speed and working memory, and that is why your child has certain issues. Which test should is more suitable? Which psychologist should you go with? If there is no real need to know your child’s score, if your child is doing well in school, and you are not looking for acceleration, do you still test?
5. Help your children to find friends. Many of them are able to make friends with older children and adults. Some may need a bit more of a push. Help them find true peers instead of just age peers. You can let them join clubs in sports or other interests, where they could be at more similar levels, or they could have common interests to talk about. You can even help them to find pen pals.
6. Allow your child to flourish. Allow them to play. Learn about their interests. There is no need to push them intellectually. Give them free time to explore, and create their own stories or things. They can be great in one area, but terrible in another area. Celebrate their successes, and do not harp on what they cannot achieve. Strike a balance between pushing them too hard, and not pushing them at all. They may excel academically, but want to do something completely different. Be rest assured they will excel in what they like too. Allow them to fail too, because you do not want them to have a smooth sailing life without facing any issues, only to stumble really hard when they are at the top.
7. Work on their character and other life skills. Bring them up to be useful citizens, responsible, humble and people of integrity. They are so smart that they need to be grounded in good values so that they will not go the wrong direction. Teach them how to keep their own things organised. Teach them how to behave in social settings. Teach them how to interact with people. Teach them how to be disciplined and not give up easily. Teach them resilience. Teach them independence. Teach them how to say please and thank you. In fact, don’t just teach. Model the values and skills.
This post is part of a monthly blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page on Gifted 101.